Reese Haggott, one of the most important and charismatic leaders in car AV electronics passed away over the weekend of pancreatic cancer at the age of about 70, according to industry members close to him.
From 1978 to 1986, he led Alpine Electronics, where he became senior VP, and then worked at Eclipse and Coustic.
Haggott, with his cowboy style, big personality and bold vision, continues to influence many of today’s market leaders.
“He changed the whole dynamic of the Japanese management condition that had gone on for years….He wouldn’t take no for an answer from the Japanese. And the dealers flocked to his ideas,” said Dave Black who worked with him at Alpine and now runs On-Board Engineering and Sales.
“He had a dream this could be a huge category and there could be lots of successful people in it. Before that it wasn’t much; it was Kraco, 8-tracks and mind blower 6 by 9s” said Steve Witt (now at DICE Electronics), who also worked at Alpine with Haggott.
Haggott created a business distribution model that became the gold standard. He demanded that each retailer be visited personally by an Alpine rep before it was authorized. And he convinced home audio dealers to enter the new car stereo category at the time.
“It set the tone for the distribution process for almost all car audio companies,” said Rich Rukavina, who also worked at Alpine with Haggott and who is an ad rep for CEoutlook. “He could motivate his sales team like no one else.”
A friend an associate from Alpine and Coustic, Rich Coe (now at PowerBass) said of Haggott, “He was a guy who attacked life….He and Dan [Petersen] were the guys who really set the tone at retail. Dan Petersen was his counterpart at Kenwood. They were at war with one another in the market, but they respected each other and were friends,” said Coe.
Haggott was diagnosed with cancer only 7 days before he passed. He was a resident of Minden, Nevada.
“Reese shaped us….He stayed in touch with where the industry was going and was always 50 miles out ahead of it,” added Coe.
Update. Please note in the comments below that Ray Windsor has organized a night of remembrance for Reese on Saturday November 6, 2010 at the Depot Restaurant in Torrance CA (310-787-7501) at 5:00 pm. If you can attend, please RSVP to Ray at 949-228-2153 (cell) or 949-600-8195 (office) or [email protected]
Top photo licensed from Getty Images
Bottom photo from Alpine: Reese Haggott is on the left